A federal agriculture report says the light brown apple moth will continue to be regulated as a quarantine pest, despite arguments its danger is overstated.
The moth, which is common in New Zealand, has been found in at least 16 California counties. State agriculture officials say it threatens the agricultural industry and must be eradicated.
Opponents argue that officials have overstated the moth's potential impact and understated the human and animal health risk of pesticide exposure.
Late last year, a panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences agreed that the moth should be classified as invasive.
That prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to uphold the quarantine status in its report released Tuesday.
© 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.